On Monday, actor Rajnikanth came to his daughter’s defense, asserting that Aishwarya Rajnikanth never used the word sanghi negatively and supporting her assertion that he was not a sanghi. Aishwarya did not say that the word sanghi was bad. Rajnikanth said to reporters at the Chennai airport, “I am spiritual and I love all religions, but even so, people call me sanghi.” At the audio launch event for the Aishwarya-directed film “Lal Salaam,” starring Rajinikanth, on January 26, she bemoaned the hurt she felt from people referring to her father as a sanghi. He wouldn’t have acted in Lal Salaam if he were a sanghi.
Normally avoiding social media, Aishwarya expressed her displeasure with the online discussion about her father’s politics aligned with the right. I saw some memes at the shooting site where my father was made fun of. In certain memes, he was referred to as Sanghi. I was ignorant of the word’s definition. My friends informed me that sanghis are people who support specific parties when I asked them. First and foremost, Rajnikanth is not a Sanghi. Aishwarya stated,” You will realize it if you see the movie.” Following her speech, Rajnikanth’s detractors ridiculed Aishwarya on social media by posting a photo of the actor touching Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, and his visit to the Ram Temple in Ayodhya for the pran-pratishta event.
Critics also brought up a previous quote from Rajnikanth in which he compared Amit Shah and Narendra Modi to Lord Krishna and Arjuna. They questioned why, if he wasn’t a sanghi, he would complement the home minister and prime minister. Rajnikanth was defended by BJP MLA Vanathi Srinivasan, who said that while some people are mocking the actor by calling him a sanghi, many others claim to be proud sanghis. According to Vanathi, we refer to people who love their country and do not jeopardize its welfare as sanghis.
After remaining silent for a while, Rajnikanth told the media that his daughter did not think the term Sanghi was disparaging. Rather, she asked herself why her father was being called that when his area of interest was spiritual. The renowned actor retreated, saying that his participation in the movie Lal Salaam was a reflection of his range of roles rather than a sign of his political affiliation. The renowned actor found himself unintentionally becoming a symbol for the greater discussion about the fuzziness of the boundaries between politics and film in the Indian entertainment industry, in addition to defending his reputation as the social media frenzy persisted.